"Addiction or Freedom" The addiction-trauma connection
This is to be a "Getting Started" guide to understanding and dealing with any addiction. So far, it's my understanding that all addictions, compulsions, destructive behaviors, pain, suffering, unwanted habits and obsessive behaviors are all reactions to trauma. Why am I convinced addiction and trauma are related? The short answer is, Trauma changes brain chemistry.
Addicts have a brain chemistry that makes them susceptible to addictions. Non-addicts, for the most part, do not. For me. understanding I had a different, altered, brain chemistry helped. Understanding the trauma addiction connection was one key to ending my addiction to alcohol and heroin. When I say ending an addiction I'm not talking about quitting for a while. When I say ending an addiction I mean ended like my addiction to heroin and alcohol ended on august 8th, 2003. My addiction to alcohol and heroin ended on that day because I quit using and have not used drugs since.
Ending an addiction is hard. We can make it harder, we can make it easier and less painful. The really hard part is not the pain of withdrawal. Recovering from addictions means dealing with frustration, confusion, loneliness mainly caused by a malfunctioning brain and body. There is nothing pretty about this. Dealing with the emotions and mental habits of a malfunctioning brain and body is tough work. But it has to be done, cannot be side stepped, and in the end it's well worth it.
There is one thing I might say about myself here: I never ever want to make things harder than they need to be. I don't mind hard jobs, tough puzzles, long investigations ... but I never want to make things hard for myself or others. I want to make things as easy as I can, whenever I can.
How The Addiction Thing Works I've always been curious as to "what makes things work". The more I understand the inner workings of a thing the more comfortable I am with it. I've looked closely at addiction and recovery. I approached "Getting Free From My Addiction" like it was my job. I wanted to know how all the addiction stuff, brain stuff, thinking and emotional stuff worked so I could be really good at the job of dealing with myself and the addictions. Aside from having a natural curiosity I wanted to end the being addicted part of my life.
For many years I'd been looking at the human psychology, human behavior side of things - but it hadn't got me out of my thinking, feeling, addiction mess. When I finally decided I'd had all the being an addict I could stand the addiction recovery idea was a new concept. So I went at recovering, like I said before, as if it were my job. At some point I decided to start writing things down and so we are here now. Everything I've looked at, analyzed tried out and come up with so far - I wrote (am writing) down.
I really looked for reasons why some people are able to recover from addictions while most go on to the bitter end without any sustained success. The following assessments are based on that search. The criteria I use for anything I pass along as a solution will be: Is it real? Does it work?
According to The Addictive Behaviors, by W.R. Miller, an individual can become addicted, dependent, or compulsively obsessed with any activity, substance, object, or behavior that gives him/her pleasure.
Why use a 12 step format?
About the basic structure and principles of alcoholics anonymous
listen to the 12 steps and 12 traditions of alcoholics anonymous
My observations on the question: Is addiction a disease?